The summer solstice brings the best out in man. It’s the time when the light hits its peak and everything and everyone comes alive, energetic to live a life with purpose.
Summer in Germany is short, but that doesn’t mean it’s not special. To me, biking around Hannover was a quasi-spiritual experience. On the sunny days, I pedaled the flat pathways and watched Hannover bloom into one of the most magical cities I’ve ever spent time in. Nature is just footsteps away from every Hannoverian home.
But to me, these spiritual messages came from the roses. Germany, like most of Europe, is fond of flowers and roses bloom, blossom and bud across the city. And there was no shortage of roses in my neighborhood, Altstadt.
Patches of red roses ascended along the historic brick buildings, just like a grapevine. I began to have this “thing” with Hannover. I did not know how to explain it. And this “thing” certainly ignited as the sun entered the summer solstice.
Roses have been symbolic to mankind since the ancient times. The rose blooms with intricate layers that symbolize how spiritual wisdom unfolds in people’s lives. Mystics believe that roses have powerful energy fields that awaken a connection with God, angels or the universe.
In ancient times, the rose symbolized eternal love, love stories and how Gods interacted with each other and human beings. From a Christian viewpoint, roses are the reminder of the Garden of Eden, a paradise in a world that reflected God’s design before sin corrupted it.
After hours of staring at roses, biking through alleys lined with roses and taking time to stop and smell the roses, I realized this “thing” with Hannover.
It was a love affair, an innocent and unadulterated love affair with the purity and beauty of Hannover. No matter if I was in Berlin, Bremen or Hannover, every red rose, which symbolized love, reminded me of how special Hannover and its history is.
The roses taught me to be appreciative and thankful for everything in my life, especially the chance the experience life in Hannover.
Every bike ride felt as if I were as free as a bird and as powerful as an angel. A guider of my own life, I felt free and spiritually fulfilled as I meandered past Waterlooplatz in search of the next adventure.
To me, biking is meditation in motion. It’s the time where I plugin my ear buds and connect to my inner world. I do most of my thinking while on two wheels.
After countless miles of biking, I finally figured it out. Hannover was this gem, or a paradise that had yet to be an adulterer to the sweet fruits of modern day bullshit.
Sure, Hannover had corporate backereis and apothecaries, but life stood still to the good old days that embraced modern values.
Women rode bikes alone at 3:00am. Children played outdoors and weren’t shoved in front an Ipad. People sat in peace while sipping on a latte or enjoying a bowl of ice cream that was the size of my head. Women could do dancing without getting harassed by men. People stripped off their clothes and jumped into a lake, or wore thongs at a pool and didn't get snickered at (or kicked out for indecency). Men and women enjoyed alcohol in the park while maintaining personal control. People actually had conversations at a restaurant and were not glued to their iPhone. Life was beautiful. Life was open and free.
Life in Hannover was the quintessential German experience and the way western life should be. I fell deeply in love because I lost all those experiences in America and saw other parts of the world change.
I saw how bureaucrats (on both sides) filtered the American mind with violence and consumerism while shoving pills down everyone’s throat. They produced violent, malicious and robotic drones all for the sake of keeping everyone poor, mind-numbed and dependent.
The second time I moved back to Australia, I saw how it became more Americanized and since the Gold Coast became a primo party destination there were more crimes with many against women. The New Worlds are a global mix where history has been wiped away and rebuilt with modern high-rise buildings and glittering storefronts.
Somehow, Hannover was stuck in this time machine, locked in a bubble of the good old days. Still clinging on to whatever purity it had, I loved every ounce of it.
I did not know where I was going with my thoughts but each ride I found a secret place to park my bike and just be free with the roses.
Red, white, pink, yellow – each and every rose had a message. It told me to appreciate and discover Hannover’s history, especially with its British roots. Somehow it was ironic I ended up in Hannover. I feel that part of my quest in this life is to connect the dots. The same King of Hannover, King George III, also waged war on the American Colonies. Life as an American would’ve looked completely different if the Brits had won.
But, every message has its pluses and minuses. The rose, along with the German personality, retaught me toughness something I lost after leaving Cleveland. Toughness is not about being an asshole, but rather conquering/rising above our weaknesses/problems.
Toward the end of summer, I became sad. I was partly sad because I knew this experience was soon to end. I also became sad, as I knew internally the world was shifting in an unpredictable way. I felt as if I were exploring the last bit of healthy humanity that existed on this planet. It's the quality of life that every back-breaking, emotionally-exhausted American dreams of (or once remembers) - a safe and beautiful place where you can leave your front door unlocked.
I often study the stars. The stars told me to appreciate what I have because one day it could be gone. I couldn’t help but be thankful for this "diamond in the rough." Sadly, like everything, even the most precious gems will one day change.
During one sweaty bike ride, my legs became “jello” while conquering the “mountain” in Hannover. I locked my bike and walked through a quiet area around the Lindenberg.
The roses were drenched in the morning’s dew. I gazed at a dewdrop that sparkled underneath the partly cloudy sky. I went to touch the petal and the droplet fell into the earth.
Like the summer sun, I understood the lesson in that moment. The cycle of life and nature is in the hands of the universe. Something as pure as a dewdrop may fall into the earth, but it may not necessarily die. It will be recycled and rebirthed into something magical.
At that point, I did not understand the message, but regardless, the roses showed me the reality and honest truth of nature and life. The drip of the dewdrop symbolized the beauty of Germany and its culture. These people lived through decades of a dark and bleak past, which arose to something better and more beautiful than their history (and the still life that no longer exists in the States.)
Nothing can change the past, but we can control our future. Polar opposites always exist. Good and bad, hot and cold, yin and yang, Germany found its way out of the dark and into the light.
Although I felt incomplete, like I did with Australia (which is why I went back a second time) I somehow knew I would return to Hannover. Where, when and why was beyond my understanding. But, life like nature can be unpredictable (and cruel) just like it is wonderful and beautiful.
In that moment, I could only enjoy the beautiful surroundings and roses and thank Hannover for everything the city and its people gave me.
I knew I had to return to America and with hope and the will to strengthen my inner-seed, I hoped that one day I would return to Hannover.
Get a Lemon Every Now and Then....